National Organization for Marriage Challenges Minnesota Campaign Finance Board


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 4th, 2011
Contact: Mary Beth Hutchins (703-683-5004) x. 105

“The CFB cannot illegally force us to report information the law does not require.” Brian Brown, President of NOM

St. Paul, MN—The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today told the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board they were acting illegally in attempting to force NOM and other pro-family nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of donors to the groups in order to contribute general treasury funds to a ballot question committee in Minnesota. Minnesota law does not require nonprofit corporations to disclose its members as a condition of contributing to a ballot question committee.

“NOM does not object to its donations to the Minnesota for Marriage campaign being publicly disclosed,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “What we do object to is the attempt of Campaign Finance Board bureaucrats to illegally force us to report information the law does not require. The CFB does not have the legal authority to impose such requirements. Only the Legislature can enact laws, and they have repeatedly refused to do so.”

Minnesota law does not give jurisdiction to the Campaign Finance Board to regulate nonprofit corporations except to the extent they are involved in advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate. The CFB has sought this authority at least three times (2004, 2005 and 2011), but the Legislature has declined to give the Board this power.

”The Board is in the process of implementing through multiple back-door, behind the scenes ‘statements of guidance’ recommendations made by the Board to the legislature over a number of years, but which have never been adopted nor enacted by the legislature into the laws of the State of Minnesota,” said Cleta Mitchell, counsel for NOM.

NOM’s September 30th letter to the Board accused it of specifically targeting NOM and other pro-family organizations supporting the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment for its proposed regulations. During its September 6th meeting of the Board, executive director Gary Goldsmith specifically discussed how the National Organization for Marriage would be impacted by the proposed regulations.

“I was appalled to listen to the Board’s discussion of NOM’s website, the language contained in NOM’s solicitations and, further, how NOM’s activities related to its support of the Marriage Referendum are to be fitted with whatever ‘make-it-up-as-we-go-along’ restructuring of Minnesota campaign finance law the Board ultimately comes up with,” Mitchell said. “The deliberate targeting by the government of a particular citizens organization such as NOM is a violation of NOM’s First Amendment rights protecting it from such government assault.”

NOM has demanded that the Campaign Finance Board produce all communications, documents, emails and other materials related to its attempts to seek legislative authority for the very changes it now proposes to illegally promulgate. It also demands all internal and external communication the Board has had relative to the National Organization for Marriage and the proposed marriage referendum.

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, president of NOM, contact Elizabeth Ray (x. 130) or Mary Beth Hutchins (x.105) at 703-683-5004.